Task Properties Affecting the Cingulo-Opercular Network

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2013

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Neurosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type




Task Properties Affecting the Cingulo-Opercular Network


Joseph William Dubis

Doctor of Philosophy in Neurosciences

Washington University in St. Louis, 2013

Professor Steven E. Petersen, Chair

Humans are able to complete a vast array of tasks by adopting a task set, a set of neural processes necessary to link a stimulus with the proper response in order to complete a goal. Elements of the task set are manifested in three task control signals found in the blood oxygen level dependent signal. The three signals reflect task set initiation, maintenance of task set, and error-related feedback. Regions of the brain including the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex/medial superior frontal cortex and bilateral anterior insula/frontal operculum have been found to be "core" regions of task control as a result of exhibiting all of the control signals across a variety of tasks. This thesis investigated how different task properties affect the task control signals in the cingulo-opercular regions. Specifically, it showed that the sustained activity related to task set maintenance is present for tasks requiring post-perceptual processing in order to link the stimulus to the response. Tasks which do not require post-perceptual processing, such as perceptual tasks, do not exhibit sustained activity in the cingulo-opercular regions. Next, this body of work investigated whether sustained activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex, a region linked to the cingulo-opercular regions, is sensitive to multiple interfering task sets. Lastly, this thesis showed that awareness of a committed error increases the error-related feedback activity in the cingulo-opercular regions. Collectively, these observations provide evidence for how the brain manifests different task properties and how this may affect behavior.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Steven E Petersen

Committee Members

Todd S Braver, Kathleen B McDermott, John R Pruett, Jr., Bradley L Schlaggar, Gordon L Shulman


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7K64G1B

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